I wonder how far away they are, if they are coming at all. I feel as though I don’t know anything anymore. There is nothing, except space and dust, the seconds ticking sluggishly past, like some thick, viscous liquid. Time has slowed and sped at the same time and I feel confused, dazed with the effort of sitting upright.
Whatever is pressing against my right shoulder has started to hurt and the ceiling above my head feels as though it’s slipping, millimetre by millimetre, as though determined to finish the job and crush me. It is dark now, the laptop long dead. I say long, but really I have no idea if it’s been a few minutes or a few hours since the white light flickered and died, leaving me sitting in the relentless dark. There had been no emails, despite my restless checking. Nothing came, and deep down I had known that nothing would come. Not in time. There haven’t been any clicks for a while.
My entire body feels as though it’s throbbing with numbness. The stress that has raced through my body wants me to move, but there is nothing, no movement. I am trapped in this tiny space, with nothing left to breath, and it is hell. I wait, terrified and pinned.
After what feels like twenty minutes I wake. I didn’t know that I had slept. The clicking has started again, a burst, then nothing, then a click each few seconds.
“How are you doing?” I know this is a stupid, unanswerable question but I have nothing else in my arsenal, no presence of mind to form a new sentence.
There are two clicks, then silence.
“I’m not good. I think I might go to sleep now.”
A frenzy of clicking. I don’t know what that means. I begin to monologue.
“My laptop died. I tried to call 111 but my mike’s screwed, so they can’t hear me.’ Even in my own voice I can hear the unstable sound of a person tipped over the edge, that insane hint of laughter, like the bad guy at the end of a movie, when he’s been mortally wounded and is reeling out his entire evil plan while waiting to die. That sick, scary insanity. I can hear it in my own voice now.
“So I emailed some people, so here’s hoping that someone has a nice relaxing coffee break soon and I haven’t ended up in their Junk folder.” I break off with a shaky laugh. More unhinged humour. “So I think we might be fucked! I don’t have much air left, I can’t breathe and I can’t move, and you certainly don’t sound very good, so we might be done mate!” I finish my sentence almost triumphantly. I don’t know why I said mate. I never say mate.
The world is beginning to swim around me, even though I can’t see it. Blackness swirls and dips in my vision and I try to focus, but my head hurts and I can’t see anything to anchor from. There are three slow clicks, then nothing for a very long time.